Guinea pig care.

Guinea pigs may be small, cute, and fluffy, but they have veterinary needs just like dogs and cats. If you’re venturing into the world of pocket pets for the first time, you may feel unsure about how to care for a guinea pig. Is a guinea pig easy to take care of? Or does it require more attention than your other pets? 

How to Care for a Guinea Pig

With the right nutrition, grooming, and veterinary care, your guinea pig can live a long and happy life—anywhere from four to eight years. This is a rarity among pocket pets. Hamsters, for example, only live for about two years. Before you bring your guinea pig home, you’ll need to invest in your new pet’s habitat. 

Home Sweet Home

Guinea pigs require plenty of enclosed space where they can freely roam, sleep, and eat. If you bring home more than one guinea pig, you’ll need an even larger cage. By the way, guinea pigs love spending time with each other, so getting two is a good idea. To adequately house one-to-two guinea pigs, look for a cage that’s at least 30 by 36 inches. Look for a guinea pig-specific cage made from cubes and coroplast

To make the cage cozy and perfect for your little pig, you’ll need: 

  • Paper or fleece-based bedding
  • Water bottle
  • Food dish with high-quality pellets
  • Timothy hay
  • Toys
  • A tunnel or box for hiding

Now you can bring your guinea pig home!

Feeding Your Guinea Pig

Guinea pigs need a fresh and constant supply of Timothy hay. This hay helps them digest their food, and it keeps their teeth from growing too long. Each guinea pig will also need 1/8 a cup of vitamin C-fortified pellets every day. Look for corn and seed-free pellets made with Timothy hay. Keep fresh vegetables on hand, too: each guinea pig needs one cup of fresh veggies per day to help them get enough vitamin C to stay healthy. These pocket pets love cilantro, kale, sweet potatoes, carrots, parsley, and broccoli. 

Make sure you change out your guinea pig’s water every day, too. These little animals need a continuous, fresh supply of water.

Grooming and Cage Care

If your guinea pig has short hair, brush it at least once a week. Long-haired guinea pig care is more involved—you can expect to brush it every single day. Buy a pair of guinea pig nail clippers and trim those toenails once a month. 

In addition to regular grooming, your guinea pig’s cage will need to be spot cleaned every day or two. You’ll also need to commit to deep-cleaning the cage once a week. 

Veterinary Care

Like dogs and cats, guinea pigs need regular vet checkups. Your veterinarian can help with nail trimming, check your pig’s teeth to ensure they aren’t growing too long, and make sure your pet’s vitamin C levels are in a healthy range. 

Oakhurst Veterinary Hospital can help answer your questions and point you in the direction of pocket pet-specific veterinary care. Feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns you have about your guinea pig.